Did you know there is a proven way to increase recruiting and retention, gain more customers, and support the causes you are passionate about? Your company’s philanthropic effort is the formidable force that can do all three. Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is more than just a feel-good trend: It’s a smart business tool, as well.
In direct sales, motivating your salesforce is crucial, and supporting a relevant cause is powerful motivation. According to a 2010 study by the Kenexa Research Institute, employees who see their company investing in a successful CSR campaign are over three times more likely to positively rate their pride in the organization, be willing to recommend it as a place to work, and express overall satisfaction. Since it is these inside stakeholders who can create a flourishing company, a successful CSR campaign will pay for itself in terms of increased productivity, retention and a positive corporate culture.
It’s not just your sales team who want you to do good. Consumers increasingly demand social responsibility from companies with which they do business. In fact, according to the 2012 Goodpurpose Study by Edelman Inc., 87 percent of consumers expect companies to give the interests of society equal weight to business concerns. And they will put their money behind that belief: 73 percent of consumers are willing to switch from one brand to another brand that is about the same in price and quality, if the other brand is associated with a good cause. Furthermore, 71 percent are willing to promote a brand associated with a cause they support, and 72 percent will recommend that brand to others. Customers want to know you are looking at more than profits when you do business!
Cause marketing is how you let consumers know about the good work you are doing. It’s important to realize that cause marketing has two distinct parts: supporting a cause, and educating your potential customers about your efforts. Your company may already be supporting a cause, but unless you are advertising that support, consumers are unlikely to know about it. When you use your marketing dollars to highlight your patronage of a cause, you aren’t just tooting your own horn. You are also raising awareness of the cause itself, which is another great way to support it.
If you aren’t already involved in any philanthropic efforts, it’s time to start. Your employees are a great resource for ideas—chances are they have ideas about local or national causes that would be a good fit for your company. Start the conversation, form a team to explore possibilities, and pretty soon you’ll be reaping the rewards of helping out.
Consumers and employees are no longer content to let doing business and doing good operate in separate spheres. CSR is an integral part of business operations, and the rewards are abundant.
Gina Manis-Anderson, owner of Savii Group, uses her cost savings expertise to help companies free up capital to fund the programs that really matter. Learn more at www.saviigroup.com.